If your company is looking to modernize business processes with automation, then it is important to have an understanding of the different types of automated data captures that exist and how they can be put to use to benefit your business.
Employing automated data capture technology is significantly faster than traditional manual data entry and paper processes. That handwritten document and snail-mailed check are becoming business practices of the past as we step into the modern digitized age.
HR and AP departments are among the top two teams to benefit, but automated data software trickles down to a more positive onboarding experience for new hires and extends benefits across all departments for a more cohesive work environment.
Even if your knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and automated data capture is limited, we’ve provided an outline of some of the most effective automated data software and systems that will increase productivity and efficiency while reducing costs.
Scanning is the most basic form of automated data capture and it is the one that you are likely the most familiar with. If your company still operates with a paper-based system, then converting your paper documents into digital documents through scanning software will be the easiest approach to document management if you want to start small.
The scanning process begins when you place a paper document onto a printer or other device with scanning hardware. The software then captures an image of the paper document and converts it to an electronic document so that you can save it as a digital file on your desktop or in a network folder.
This manual data capture process is most commonly used by HR in the onboarding process when new hire IDs and forms need to be processed and filed, but many companies also scan invoices in the Accounts Payable department. Once an invoice is scanned and saved into a digital space, it can be transported for approval via email which speeds up the invoicing process and cuts down on paper costs.
If your company has a smaller volume of invoices and onboarding forms, then scanning automatic data capture is a great place to start to cut costs and take advantage of modern technology. However, if your company is larger and has significant room for growth in your AP KPIs, then you might want to look at more effective data capture systems below.
Barcoding invoices in batches is another form of automated data collection that can streamline your AP department’s invoicing process. The average person knows what a barcode is, we see them all the time in grocery stores and clothing shops, and they work in a very similar way on the B2B side.
Barcodes are coded with key data elements like the vendor name, address, ID number, and more. These barcodes are placed on invoices so that they can be scanned with automated data capture software for a more accurate data transfer. Barcoding removes a lot of room for human error by eliminating manual data entry.
This hybrid system is a good step for businesses to take when they are looking for more automated data capture methods that will save time and money. Still, it is important to note that barcoding still requires a significant amount of paper and manual labor to scan the barcodes. The automatic data capture process that you chose depends on the size of your company and its goals but scanning and barcoding are still great first steps.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Optical character recognition, or OCR, is a groundbreaking automated data collection software that extracts necessary data on documents for processing. When used in invoice processing, OCR automatically collects data like the invoice number, vendor name, line totals, address, and copies it into the software for smoother and more accurate processing.
While it may take a staff member a larger block of time to manually input invoice data into a system, OCR software like AP automation will capture and copy data in seconds. Staff members can be free from repetitive tasks that are error-prone and instead focus their talents on more necessary productivity and business goals.
OCR technology has allowed for advancements used in healthcare, government, education, and finance organizations and so many more. Processes are faster and more accurate with automated data collection that can be “taught” and developed to classify, copy, and secure a high volume and variety of documents.
Intelligent Character Recognition, or ICR, is another automated data capture software that falls under the umbrella of OCR. ICR uses capture automation to convert handwritten forms and documents into electronic text. This automation solution is very beneficial and cost-effective in your efforts to digitize company documents.
Intelligent Data Capture (IDC)
Intelligent Data Capture, or IDC, is the most effective data capture system and software because it does everything that OCR can do, while also employing workflow automation. IDC removes almost every step of manual processing once the software learns your company’s document processing system. Intelligent and accelerated processing speeds leave staff with simple tasks like clicking “approve” while everything else from inputting to classifying to validating and verifying is done for you with workflow automation and automated data collection software and tools.
IDC can also handle a larger number of documents, forms, or invoices than OCR. The technology can even automatically share data with staff members who need to give a stamp of approval which speeds up business processes and cuts the cost of paper, postage, labor, and other common costs.
IDC also allows for different tools, features, and settings that can be optimized for your organization’s unique needs. For example, the automated processing software can be set to only capture key data like vendor ID number and line total and disregard irrelevant data with document templates.
IDC and AP Automation
Intelligent Data Capture technology is used in AP automation to speed up invoice processing and eliminate human errors in data entry that can cause faulty or duplicate payments. AP automation software integrates smoothly with your current systems for an easy transition and it creates a more productive invoice processing workflow.
AP automation fixes the invoice approval process by filtering out duplicate invoices and preventing overpayments with intelligent document recognition that compares an invoice to a PO automatically. AP automation with IDC also offers increased visibility across the AP department with easy ways to search for documents on one platform by key data.
In today’s digital age, there will continue to be more reasons to automate B2B payments and take advantage of automated data software and tools. The future of accounts payable and so many other business procedures will soon look back at the use of paper and manual processes and laugh at how much money and time was wasted.
As advances continue in modern digital technology that is built for our benefit, don’t let your company get left behind in a pile of paper documents, physical checks, and snail-mail. Choosing an automation solution will save the planet, your pockets, and your sanity!
For more information on how to integrate IDC and AP Automation into your business processes, Contact Us today.